New home vs. used home -- which is for you?

New home VS Used home ..... Which is for you?

When you're in the market to buy a home you should ask yourself if you want a new or existing home. If you want to buy a new home make sure to research the developer. If you're buying an existing home you may face renovation costs. There are many factors beyond economics that drive the decision, Buying a home should be more of a lifestyle decision, because so much of the economics are beyond your control.One of the fundamental mistakes that consumers make is a rush to judgment. They often dismiss a new home or a resale when one is far more appropriate for them than the other. Below are a few pros and cons in the own-resale debate:

 Locale: The oft-recited real estate mantra of "location, location, location" is still relevant. Most older, established neighborhoods are in the town's center, which can be good or bad depending on the vitality of your urban area. New subdivisions -- and newer schools -- are generally on the outskirts. But the expense of a daily commute is one factor that many buyers forget to consider

 Price: Existing homes are usually less expensive per square foot, in part because of escalating land costs in new subdivisions. But ownership costs are considered more predictable -- almost inevitable -- in a new home, especially considering the cost of a code upgrade or remodeling of a vintage home. Some builders will include closing costs as part of their price of a new home, although that builder has a set amount he must get from that home to make a profit. Price is more readily negotiable for an existing home. Also, a hidden cost in many new subdivisions is a homeowner's association, with mandatory fees and other assessments as well as architectural controls that may surface at remodeling or expansion time. Do your homework.

Move-in complications, advantages: The resale is sitting there waiting for occupancy, warts and all. But the wait for a new home can seem interminable, though the buyer can check on quality control as it's being built. If your finished house is among the first in a new subdivision, prepare to navigate through construction teams and precariously misplaced nails for months on end. And don't forget that daytime hammer serenade.

 Neighborhood: People moving into new neighborhoods are more homogeneous -- the same things that appeal to you also appeal to others like you. When a development goes up, it offers an opportunity for you to help create your own neighborhood lifestyle. If you want to move into community where your children have lots of playmates, that may be for you." In an older community, people have moved in and out over the years and you tend to get more diversity of neighbor backgrounds that include older people, singles, families and renters.

Living space and design: Lower building costs of the past mean more home for the money for the buyer of a resale. Resale basements may have been finished out nicely for additional living space. On the other hand, new-construction homes often employ more efficient, innovative uses of square footage and property. Also, newer "zero-lot-line" developments offer more living space per square foot than a same-size lot that surrounds a resale.

 Character: While many new homes are built in "contextual" style, which blends elements of the old and the new, it's still hard to emulate a pre-Civil War house in New Orleans, a Victorian home in San Francisco or a brick Row House in Boston. Hardwood floors, vaulted windows, high ceilings, built-in cabinetry and other design nuances express a certain individuality in older homes that's nearly impossible to copy. Many new-home buyers believe they put the character in their own homes.

Safety: Builders have to follow very strict guidelines in new-homes and additions, especially in the West and Northwest, where earthquake safety standards must be observed. In general, new homes are usually more fire-safe and better accommodating of new security and garage-door systems.

Landscaping: Mature trees, robust shrubs, gardens, rose bushes and perennially well-watered lawns are some of the rewards of an older home, while most new homes are apt to yield wee trees, fewer walkways and sparse vegetation. Landscaping is an expensive proposition today for the cost-conscious home builder.

 Energy efficiency: Advantage: new construction. Game, set and match as well. New-home designers can use new building materials such as glazed Energy Star windows, thicker insulation and other technology that will lower future energy costs for the owner. Most states now have minimum energy-efficiency requirements for new construction. Kitchens and laundry areas in new homes are designed to house more efficient energy-saving appliances. Older homes, unless they have undergone an energy retrofit, usually cost much more per square foot to air-condition and heat.

 Amenities: Many new subdivisions offer neighborhood clubhouses, swimming pools, playgrounds, bike and jogging trails and picnic venues for residents. Older homes don't, although many have better access to urban shopping venues and restaurants because they're part of old, self-containing city-planning philosophies.

 Maintenance: The charm of an older home often goes hand in hand with increased maintenance, especially if the previous owner(s) were not vigilant in upkeep. Building materials may be harder to replace or match in an expansion or remodeling. New homes generally come with at least a one-year warranty for the repair of some problems that develop as it settles into its foundation. But know what your warranty covers. Many are elusively written.

 Taxes: Newer homes tend to spring up in less-developed, outlying municipalities, which may impose higher taxes on you because they're subsidizing fewer inhabitants than the central metropolitan area. Your community will still need fire and police coverage, sidewalks, sewers and probably a new school. A more established home in a built-out area has a little more predictable tax structure.

Compromise is obviously the name of the new-or-resale home-buying game, as it becomes apparent that the perfect house and perfect site probably don't really exist. And finding what you want can be a protracted headache.  Whether buying a new or resale home, always hire a properly credentialed individual to inspect the premises before you settle. Even some nationally known home inspection firms may send out an individual inspector who is minimally qualified to perform a good inspection .When purchasing your home please hire a Realtor to protect you along the way. At the end of the day buying a used or new home should be largely a lifestyle decision, that still shouldn't prevent the potential buyer from also thinking like a seller, for you will be one someday


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